Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Hope every one had a wonderful Karthikai festival. We celebrated Karthikai with Pori, Neyyappam and Adai. I had planned to light lots of lamps and had put the wicks and oil in many small earthenware lamps as is the custom. But we have been observing that during this month there is a steady wind blowing as the sun goes down making it difficult to keep the lamps burning. By the time we finish lighting the lamps in a row all the flames get blown off by a gust of wind and we again start lighting them all over again. It was very difficult to keep them all burning continuously for five minutes. It is all the more difficult because our house is east facing and the direction of the wind is not favorable to us. We need more than two people to keep all the lamps burning for a longer time. Any way I managed to keep them on for some time running from this end to that end.
Coming to think of it I have not posted the recipe for Adai so far although it is an item prepared very often at home. There are different kinds of Adais we prepare, but Karthikai Adai is special and is known as Aanai Adai. Here is the recipe for this tasty Adai.
Boiled rice- 1 cup
Toor dal- 2 tbsp.
Chana dal- 2 tbsps
Whole black gram- 2 tbsp.*
Black eyed peas (Vella payer / karamani)- 2 tbsp.
Horse gram- 2 tbsp
Hing- a small piece
Jeera- 2 tsp
Whole black pepper- 2 tsp
Green chillies- 2 nos
Curry leaves- a few sprigs
Grated coconut- 2 tbs
Salt to taste
Oil for frying
Wash and soak the rice and pulses together for 3 to 4 hours. Add hing, jeera and black pepper while soaking. Grind the soaked ingredients with curry leaves, green chillies, coconut and salt to a coarse consistency. Heat a tava and pour one big ladle of the batter and spread to a nice circle. Sprinkle one tsp of oil all around. Allow to cook for 2 minutes. Gently flip over and cook the other side also sprinkling another tsp of oil.
This Adai is offered as neyvedyam with a dollop of butter on top.
After neyvedyam the prasadams can be served with butter or ghee or Jaggery or chutney or the all time favorite of aviyal. At the home, though we always had Adai with home made butter or ghee and honey
*One can use urad dal in place of whole black gram.
Thursday, December 08, 2011
Tomorrow is Karthikai Deepam festival or rather we have decided to celebrate the festival tomorrow. I say this because most Hindu festivals are not celebrated on a fixed date either by the Hindu calendar or the English calendar. They are observed on a particular star or a thithi according to lunar calendar. Some festivals like Karthikai and Thiruvathirai are celebrated on the day that a particular star coincides with a full moon. Usually in the month of Karthikai (the Tamil month) or Vrischikam (Nov - Dec) in Malayalam, the star Karthikai falls on a full moon day. That is when the Karthikai Deepam festival is celebrated. More often there is a variation in this pattern like the full moon day falls on a day after the star Karthikai and then there are deliberations as to when to observe the festival, on the Karthikai star or on full moon day. And most people settle for a day according to what their priest says. Similarly this year, the Karthikai star rises at 3 pm on 8th December and Poornima starts in the evening of 9th December. So there are deliberations as to when to celebrate the festival. The famous Annamalai Deepam in the temple town of Thiruvannamalai dedicated to Lord Shiva is being celebrated this year on 8th December. But my mother tells me the priest in our village has said Karthikai is to be celebrated on 9th December. Some people are celebraing the fesival on the 10th as well.
As such there is always a difference in the days on which Iyers and Iyengars celebrate the various festivals. One sect gives importance to the star and the other sect gives importance to the thithi. All said and done festivals are celebrated to pray for peace and happiness all around; so a festival celebrated on any day is for the well being of mankind and it doesn't matter when one celebrates as long as the spirit of harmony and well being is maintained.
In our house, Karthikai has special importance and is always celebrated in a grand style. Our elder son always makes it a point to come home during Karthikai festival. He likes to light lots of lamps around the house. Karthikai is also important because my youngest brother was born on Karthikai day and his birthday is celebrated on Karthikai day. My husband was born the day after Karthikai, though his birth star is Mrigaseersham, which again goes to say that particular year, Karthikai was celebrated on Rohini star. We, including our sons, can visualise the day so clearly though none of us were born then, as it has been told to us on each Karthikai day by my mother-in-law. Happy birthday hubby dear and happy birthday my dear brother!
Make neyvedyams of Pori, Appam and Adai and light lots of lamps to remove the darkness and bring in light of prosperity and love all around.